Accidents involving a left-turning vehicle are a common occurrence at busy New York intersections. Often, the driver executing the left turn is rightly held responsible for causing the crash, but this is not always the case, and questions of liability in a left-run accident can be complex and difficult to sort out. If you’ve been hurt in a left-turn accident as a pedestrian, motorcyclist, or motor vehicle occupant, the Goshen car accident attorneys at Dupée & Monroe can help you prove the driver’s fault and liability to you for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other legal damages. Contact our experienced and successful Hudson Valley personal injury lawyers today.
When Is the Left-Turning Driver Liable?
The New York Vehicle and Traffic Law states that the driver looking to make a left turn must yield the right-of-way to any oncoming vehicles that are either within the intersection or so close as to pose an immediate hazard. Failure to adhere to this law typically results in the left-turning driver being considered at fault.
Exceptions to the Rule
Although the general rule points to the liability of the left-turning driver, there are exceptions:
1. Speeding Oncoming Vehicle: If the oncoming vehicle was speeding, it can be a contributing factor to the accident. Proving this can shift some or all liability away from the left-turning driver. Because of New York’s comparative negligence rules, any fault of the oncoming driver will reduce their compensation proportionately, but it won’t bar a recovery altogether.
2. Unexpected Stops: If the oncoming car stops to wave the left-turning driver through, and an accident occurs, the liability may be shared or shifted.
3. Signal Malfunctions: When traffic lights are not functioning correctly, establishing fault can be more complex and may be shared among negligent drivers and the municipal government responsible for maintaining the traffic signal.
Pedestrians and Left-Turn Accidents
Pedestrians crossing the street are particularly vulnerable to left-turning vehicles. In New York, drivers are obligated to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within a crosswalk. Failure to do so often places full liability on the driver. Injuries from these types of accidents can be severe, including fractures, spinal injuries, and even fatalities.
A Leading Risk for Motorcyclists
Motorcyclists are another group disproportionately affected by left-turn accidents. Because motorcycles are smaller, less visible and less numerous than passenger cars, drivers making a left turn may fail to notice them or misjudge their speed and distance. When an accident ensues, the consequences for motorcyclists can be life-altering or fatal. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and New York traffic crash statistics, left-turn accidents are a leading cause of motorcycle fatalities.
Help Is Available for Left-Turn Accident Victims in New York and the Hudson Valley
While it’s generally true that left-turning drivers are found liable for accidents in New York, exceptions do exist. Understanding these can be crucial if you find yourself involved in such an accident. What’s most important is that you find high-quality legal representation from experienced personal injury attorneys with a record of success helping car accident victims in New York.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a left-turn accident in New York or the Hudson Valley, consult with an experienced attorney to explore your legal options. Dupée & Monroe, P.C. is dedicated to representing victims of personal injury accidents and can guide you through the complexities of New York’s legal landscape. Call 845-294-8900 for a free consultation or immediate assistance to get the care and compensation you need and deserve.